CLIVE, Iowa — Doubling down on the hardline immigration policies that have long animated his base, former President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to bar refugees from Gaza and immediately expand his first-term Muslim travel ban if he wins a second term following the deadly attack on Israel last week.
Trump, speaking to supporters in Iowa, said that if he returns to the Oval Office, he will immediately begin “ideological screening” for all immigrants and bar those who sympathize with Hamas and Muslim extremists. The war has sparked what is now the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides, with more than 4,000 dead.
“No longer will we allow dangerous lunatics, haters, bigots, and maniacs to get residency in our country,” he said. “If you empathize with radical Islamic terrorists and extremists, you’re disqualified… If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you’re disqualified. If you support Hamas or any ideology that’s having to do with that or any of the other really sick thoughts that go through people’s minds — very dangerous thoughts — you’re disqualified.”
It is unclear how he would enforce that dictate, though current and former members of communist and totalitarian parties and their sympathizers are already banned.
Trump Expands on Nativist Policies
The proposals marked a dramatic expansion of the controversial — and legally dubious — policies that drew alarms from immigrant rights and civil liberties activists — but helped him win the GOP primary in 2016.
The former president and GOP front-runner also said that he would aggressively deport resident aliens with “jihadist sympathies” and send immigration agents to “pro-jihadist demonstrations” to identify violators.
Trump, the early GOP front-runner, has stepped up his caucus campaigning this fall as his team tries to lock in support to not only avoid a repeat of his 2016 second-place finish but to win an overwhelming victory that would deny momentum to whoever finishes in second place.
Casts Himself as a Martyr
Trump, continuing to paint himself as a martyr for his loyal supporters, also continued to rail against the four indictments he is facing — along with a narrow gag order that was imposed Monday by the federal judge overseeing the 2020 election interference case against him in Washington. The order, which has pledged to appeal, bars him from making statements targeting prosecutors, possible witnesses, and court staff.
“I am willing to go jail if that’s what it takes for our country to become a democracy again,” he said in Clive.